An appeals court overturned Joe Exotic’s sentence. But, the results don’t look like you think.
In 2019, zookeeper and failed politician Joe Exotic was convicted by a jury for attempting to kill his rival, animal rights activist Carole Baskin, by hiring two hitmen. In addition, he was convicted for animal cruelty after it was discovered that he was killing off the tigers under his care. Exotic was then sentenced in January of last year to 22 years in prison. But now, an appeals court says that was a mistake.
According to the Associated Press, a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th circuit ruled that the trial court incorrectly treated those two convictions separately while deciding on Joe Exotic’s prison term.
“We agree with Maldonado-Passage (Joe’s real last name) that the district court should have grouped the two counts,” the court said in its ruling. “For the foregoing reasons, we affirm Maldonado-Passage’s conviction but vacate the sentence and remand for resentencing.”
“I am optimistic that the decision today is but one of many more victories to come for Joe — and his eventual freedom,” attorney Brandon Sample told CNN.
But keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that Joe Exotic will be walking away free today or tomorrow. The appeals court didn’t rule that Joe Exotic was not guilty, just that he needed to be resentenced. They say he should receive a sentencing time of somewhere between 17 1/2 to 22 years instead.
So it seems Joe Exotic will get out slightly earlier than expected. But Dillon Passage, Joe Exotic’s former husband who announced his divorce from Exotic earlier this year and recently revealed that he’s dating someone else, will have some time before he can welcome Exotic home.